In the movie Chef, Chef Carl Casper said food is meant to create memories. Ramzan season is like that for us, bringing a flood of memories from childhood. Between the two of us, we’ve spent a lot of our childhood with our Muslim neighbours and memories of those iftaar meals come rushing back every year. Two things stand out in particular. Those delicious daal pakodas that are found in Bombay as well as in Bangladesh where they’re called pyazu, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, redolent with sweet brown onions, one of the early bites of the meals. And the other highlight, the best thing about Id mornings was the delicious Sheer Korma or Seviyan Kheer which was a breakfast dish.
Sheer is derived from the Persian word for milk and Kurma, the word for dates. This decadent, lush, creamy dish is made of roasted vermicelli, thickened milk and laden with nuts. It’s delicious fresh and hot but when generous neighbours send some over, sheer korma cool and thick, straight from the fridge is divine.
We asked Shabeena Khan, the butter queen at Mystick Kitchen Colours, to share her family’s recipe for their Id Sheer Korma. It’s simple and delicious and takes us right back all those years.
Shabeena’s Sheer Korma
1 litre Milk
2/3 cup Vermicilli
2/3 cup Dry Fruits and nuts, chopped (Almond, Pistachios, Cashew nuts, Pine nuts, Raisins)
1 cup sugar (reduce this by 2 – 3 tbsp if prefer it less sweet)
5-6 tbsp of Ghee
10-15 strands of saffron
2-3 – cardamom seeds powder (crushed in pestle)
3-4 drops of Kewda essence (optional)
Take 2 tbsp of ghee in a pan and roast vermicelli till light brown and then keep aside to cool.
In another pan take 3-4 tbsp of ghee and roast dry fruits and nuts for 5-6 min, and then keep them aside with the vermicelli to cool.
Add milk to a pot and bring it to a boil. As it comes to a boil, add the vermicelli, the dry fruits and nuts, the fresh cardamom seed powder and saffron strands. Cook over a low flame for around 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar at this point and cook for another 10-12 minutes over a low flame.
As the sheer korma is ready, add the kewda essence for flavour.
Note: As you cook the consistency of the Sheer Korma will thicken. Keep cooking till you reach the consistency you prefer. It’ll thicken even further as it cools so keep that in mind as well.